Sunday, January 23

Bead Making with Polymer Clay

Using polymer clay to create stunning beads at home is the easiest way to start jewelry making, whether it is for personal use or if you want to start up a business. The possibilities are endless, with every color, shade, shape and size possible. You can make as many beads as you like, for any use. Whether you want to add some interest to a bracelet you already own or you want to create a pair of earrings for a birthday gift.

When creating your beads, you must first decide what shapes you want, what size they should be and what they are going to be used for. The final colour and pattern can be decided while you make them-which is the fun part! Having children take part is also a great way of discovering new designs and it gets the whole family involved and helps make whatever you are making extra special.

You won’t need much equipment; just an oven, some polymer clay, a baking tray, some tools to shape and cut your clay, you can find dedicated clay tools from suppliers online. You don’t even have to get your hands dirty. You can choose to wear latex gloves to ensure you don’t make as much mess.

The most popular bead shapes are the ball, oval and the disk but you can also make a diamond, cone, globe or any other shape you can imagine. You can form the shapes with your hands for a more organic feel to the beads or you can use bead-rollers which will shape the clay for you so that it looks more professional.

You can make a hole in each bead by using a toothpick, or professional tools for this purpose can be found online, but be sure to measure the width or the necklace, bracelet etc. that the beads are going to be attached to. Make sure you don’t forget this step. Once the clay is baked, it hardens and unless you drill it, you won’t be able to poke a hole through the bead.

You don’t have to use typical precious metals like silver and gold, you can use leather, string and other materials to thread your beads onto. A simple leather bracelet adorned with a couple of beads would make an excellent friendship bracelet and a great present for a special friend.

Once you have created your beads you need to bake them as polymer clay won’t air dry. Different types of clay bake at different temperatures for different durations so always check the instructions and guidelines. Place the beads on a baking tray and be sure that none of the beads touch each other. Carefully monitor the baking time to ensure the beads don’t burn and once done, remove from the oven and allow the beads to cool properly.

Once the beads have dried, you will need to finish them. This means polishing and buffing them so that they shine and look of good quality. Varnishing them with a small paintbrush will also give a great finish, but be sure to use sandpaper or even an old toothbrush on them in order to make them smooth and clean.

Once the varnish is dry you can feel free to assemble your bracelet or earrings and show the world how creative and talented you are. You will have friends and family asking where you got that amazing necklace in no time.

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